AAN Testifies Before Congressional Committee, Accepts NFL Invite

January 4, 2010

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On Monday, January 4, 2010, Jeffrey S. Kutcher, MD, chair of the Academy's Sports Neurology Section, and 2009 graduate of the Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum, testified before the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on "Legal Issues Relating to Football Head Injuries, Part II," which discussed recent steps taken at the professional, college, and high school sport levels to deal with brain injuries.

Kutcher's testimony focused directly on sports concussions and how they should be managed.

"(Concussion is) an injury that is best managed by people with neurologic expertise and experience treating athletes," said Kutcher. "Unfortunately, the vast majority of athletes who sustain a concussion do not have access to concussion experts."

The Academy is in the process of developing new guidelines to help health care manage patients with sports concussion. In the meantime, Kutcher, a neurologist at the University of Michigan and Director of Michigan Neurosport, specified two rules he feels should apply all athletes:

  • Any athlete who is suspected to have suffered a concussion should be removed from participation until he or she is evaluated by a physician.
  • No athlete should be allowed to participate in sports if they are still experiencing symptoms from a concussion.

The National Football League (NFL) has also announced that Kutcher has accepted an invitation to join the NFL's Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (MTBI), as a representative of the AAN. The committee, which is comprised of experts from the medical community, as well as representatives from the NFL and NFL Players Association, advises the league on best practices for concussion prevention.

Read Kutcher's testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.

For more information contact Tim Miller, Health Policy Analyst at tmiller@aan.com.